Maggie Lindemann Destroys Genre on 'SUCKERPUNCH'

Maggie Lindemann Destroys Genre on 'SUCKERPUNCH'

by Payton Dunn

Maggie Lindemann refuses to let the music industry box her into a corner stylistically, forgoing the choice of just one genre for her work and exploring the full sonic range that comes with true creative freedom on her debut album SUCKERPUNCH, out now.

The former bubblegum-pop star is bringing the massive pop production of her viral "Pretty Girl" era and marrying it with a myriad of influences from the hardcore world. Taking cues from the tried-and-true pop-punk formula that re-entered the mainstream over the last couple of years and contorting it to her will, Lindemann builds upon the musical framework of her 2021 EP, PARANOIA, and pushes it even further, combining it with hints of cinematic film scores, metal and even mind-melting hyperpop.

She’s also giving us a glimpse into her truest self lyrically, drawing upon queer themes after having come out as bisexual back in 2016 over Twitter and the now-defunct live streaming app Periscope. The album sees her opening up about the silent realities that queer people have to live on tracks like "she knows it," where she unleashes her frustration pining after a girl who’s already settled herself down with a boyfriend comfortably by her side, singing, "I like a girl that's got a boyfriend/ Can't seem to get her out of my head/ And she knows it should be me in her bed/ Yeah, she knows it, she knows it, she knows it."

We knew we had to dig in more, so PAPER sat down with Lindemann to talk about the new album, her place in the vast sea that is the music industry and the backstory behind that mystery girl from "she knows it," below.

What was the inspiration behind SUCKERPUNCH?

Just what I was going through in my life at the time. Every time I write, it's always just what I'm going through and life experiences. I wrote it over the course of like a year and it's just a progression of my life.

How did you approach working with your producers on the project?

So, on this album, I actually worked with a bunch of new people, but I usually find producers and writers through other people. I have my main two producers, Cody and Josh. They did all of PARANOIA, but then some other people I worked with I had found through a friend that also makes music. We just hit him up and we worked with a lot of them. A lot of the people I ended up working with ended up on the album, so it was really cool!

And this feels a lot more expansive than PARANOIA was. It opens with that pretty cinematic intro, so what sparked that?

I really like cinematic music. I really like soundtracks and instrumental music and classical music, and I wanted to do something that was just cinematic and felt like the opening to a movie or something.

And just outside of that, it pulls from a pretty wide range of influences, even wider than PARANOIA. PARANOIA was like the move to pop-punk, and this keeps that in there, but there's also elements of metal and even glitch at some points! How did those come about?

I like to be super experimental with my music, especially if I'm feeling like that on that day. I'll go into the studio and I'll be listening to hyperpop that day and I'm like, "I want to make a song with glitches and with all these different things!" I just like to do that. I don't like to limit myself to one genre, and just in the process of this album, I felt super experimental and everyone was just kind of down to do it.

Who are some of those hyperpop artists you've been listening to?

I was listening to kmoe a lot at the time when we were making it, which is crazy because I just really like his stuff and he's really sick and he's like young and cool! We hit him up to help produce on a couple of songs, so he's actually on a couple songs! I was listening to him, I was listening to yeule. I was just listening to a bunch of random stuff.

That's sick! I'm a huge kmoe fan and I didn't even know they were on the project. That's wild!

Oh, no way! Yeah, he helped co-produce on a couple of things.

Nice! And you mentioned being pretty experimental with it, but there are also some more traditional, soft, sentimental ballad moments like "we never even dated," which kind of strays from the whole bombastic and fiery pop-punk thing that you have going on. What sparked that?

Again, just with my moods, I just went into the studio that day and I just felt that vibe and I just wanted to do it! I just don't like being boxed into one category or one genre because I don't think anyone just listens to one genre of music. Everyone has different moods and it's the same with creating music. I'm not going to go into the studio every day and want to make a pop-punk song or want to make a metal song or a happy song or a sad song. I have different moods for every day, so I just went in that day feeling sad and like I wanted to write a ballad.

Let's shift gears a little bit to talking about the business. You own all of your masters. Why is that important to you personally?

I think it's important because it's my work and I think every artist should own their masters! I think at the end of the day, it's my work. I've put a lot of time and literally all my energy into it. Every artist, if you can get into a distribution situation, I think you definitely should. I preach that to everyone. I'm like, "Don't sign to a label! Sign to a distribution." Owning your masters is so important!

Yeah, and the label that you started, that's under Universal, right?

Yeah, so I'm with Virgin.

What inspired that move to start your own label?

I just like being in charge of my own stuff. I think I'm a pretty independent artist. I find the producers. I find people I want to collab with. I find the people I want to do my music videos with and my photographers. I write. I find the producers. I'm very independent when it comes to my craft and I like to do it myself. Obviously, I have people like my manager that are helping, but I really like to find things on my own and have my own creative direction, so I just thought having my own label and being my own boss and being able to make all those calls was the most realistic for me.

Finally, tell us more about the mystery girl behind "she knows it." What's the tea there?

[laughs] I will never tell! I feel like that's like a reoccurring theme that's happened to me a couple of times, and I know for a lot of girls and boys, that happens a lot within the [queer] community. I just wanted to write about it, and it seems like a lot of people related to it, so sad but cool!

Photos courtesy of Jaxon Whittington